[Federal Register: July 7, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 129)]
[Notices]              
[Page 38999-39001]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07jy10-44]                                 

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Federal Perkins Loan Program: Federal Family Education Loan
Program and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION: Requirements, definitions, eligibility criteria, and procedures
for the Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program
for fiscal year (FY) 2010.

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SUMMARY: The Secretary announces the requirements, definitions,
eligibility criteria, and procedures for the implementation of the
Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program,
authorized under section 428L of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as
amended (HEA), 20 USC 1078-12. Under this program, civil legal
assistance attorneys who meet certain qualifications may have a portion
of their Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan), Federal Family Education
Loan (FFEL), and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan)
program loans repaid by the Secretary based on qualifying full-time
employment for at least three years.

DATES: Availability and Beginning Receipt Date for Applications and
Service Agreements: The Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan
Repayment Application and Service Agreement, along with the beginning
date for the Secretary's receipt of Applications and Service
Agreements, can be found at: http://www.studentaid.ed.gov.
    Deadline date for receipt of Applications and Service Agreements:
August 16, 2010.
    Additional information about the awarding of funds to eligible
borrowers under this program on a first-come, first-served basis, based
on the receipt date by the Secretary of the borrower's Application and
Service Agreement, can be found in the Background section of this
notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Pamela Moran, U.S. Department of
Education, 1990 K Street, NW., room 8023, Washington, DC 20006-8502.
Telephone: (202) 502-7732 or via Internet: Pamela.Moran@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    This notice implements the Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student
Loan Repayment Program authorized by Section 428L of the HEA. This
program is intended to encourage qualified individuals to enter and
continue employment as civil legal assistance attorneys. The HEA
authorizes the Secretary, contingent upon annual appropriations, to
repay a portion of the outstanding balance of eligible Perkins Loan,
FFEL, and Direct Loan Program loans obtained by borrowers who are
employed full time as civil legal assistance attorneys. Congress has
appropriated $5,000,000 for the program for FY 2010.
    Under the Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment
Program, a Perkins Loan, FFEL, or Direct Loan Program borrower with one
or more eligible loans (as defined in the ``Program Definitions''
section of this notice) who has executed a Service Agreement with the
Secretary and who performs service as a civil legal assistance attorney
for a period of not less than three years (as ``year'' is defined in
the ``Program Definitions'' section of this notice) may receive up to
$6,000 in student loan repayment each year up to an aggregate total of
$40,000 for any borrower.
    The borrower must be employed, full-time, as a civil legal
assistance attorney by either: (1) A nonprofit organization that
provides legal assistance, without a fee, on civil matters to low-
income individuals; or (2) a protection and advocacy system or client
assistance program that provides legal assistance on civil matters to
clients and receives funding under specific Federal programs identified
in this notice.
    Subject to available funding, student loan repayment benefits will
be paid after the borrower completes each year of service required
under the borrower's Service Agreement with the Secretary. The
Secretary does not reimburse a borrower for any payments the borrower
made on a student loan prior to the date on which the borrower entered
into a written Service Agreement with the Secretary. Upon an employer's
certification of a borrower's completion of a given year of required
service under the borrower's Service Agreement, the Secretary sends the
approved repayment amount to the borrower's loan holder(s) to be
applied to the outstanding balance of the borrower's eligible student
loans, not to exceed the annual maximum of $6,000. A borrower who
voluntarily ceases qualifying employment before completing the full
period of service required under the borrower's agreement with the
Secretary, or who is involuntarily separated from qualifying employment
due to misconduct, will be required to repay any repayment benefit the
borrower received.
    Upon completion of the required period of service, a borrower and
the Secretary may enter into an additional agreement. Under an
additional agreement, the Secretary may repay additional loan amounts
for additional periods of qualifying employment. An additional
agreement may require a borrower to be employed as a civil legal
assistance attorney for less than a three-year period.
    Loan repayment commitments are limited to the amount appropriated
for the program for a given fiscal year by Congress and are only
available to eligible applicants until those funds are fully committed.
Therefore, eligibility to participate in the Civil Legal Assistance
Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program will be available to eligible
borrowers on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the receipt
date by the Secretary (under the submission instructions of the
Secretary) of the borrower's Application and Service Agreement. A loan
repayment commitment to a borrower in one fiscal year does not
guarantee a commitment for the remainder of the years covered by the
borrower's Service Agreement or in future years. The Secretary is
required to give priority for student loan repayment in any fiscal year
to borrowers who have received forgiveness benefits during the
preceding fiscal year and have not yet completed the three years of
service under their first service agreement and to new applicants who
have practiced law for a period of five years or less and have spent
not less than 90 percent of that period working as civil legal
assistance attorneys.
    Loan repayment benefits will only be paid for years in which
Congress appropriates money for the program. If Congress does not
appropriate money, benefits will not be paid even if a borrower has a
Service Agreement with the Secretary. A borrower is obligated to
complete the entire period of service covered under the Service
Agreement even if additional loan repayments are not made.

Procedures

    Funding for this program in the amount of $5,000,000 was included
in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, enacted on December 16,
2009 (Public Law 111-117) for FY 2010. In light of the limited amount
of funds available and the uncertainty surrounding the availability of
future funding, the Secretary is issuing this notice to announce the
program and establish the requirements, definitions, eligibility
criteria, and procedures for awarding benefits under the Civil Legal

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Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program in accordance with
section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C.
1232(d)(1). The eligibility criteria, requirements, definitions, and
application and repayment procedures specified in this notice are based
on section 428L of the HEA. If continued funding for the program is
provided through annual appropriations, the Secretary intends to
undertake formal rulemaking.
    Eligibility Criteria for Borrowers: (A) To qualify for the Civil
Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program, a borrower
must:
    (1) Have an ``eligible loan,'' as defined in the ``Program
Definitions'' section of this notice;
    (2) Not be in default on a loan for which the borrower seeks
repayment;
    (3) Be employed as a ``civil legal assistance attorney'', as
defined in the ``Program Definitions'' section of this notice;
    (4) Be continually licensed to practice law; and
    (5) Execute a Service Agreement with the Secretary.
    (B) A borrower may not receive benefits for the same service under
both the Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program
and the Loan Forgiveness for Service in Areas of National Need Program
under section 428K of the HEA, 20 U.S.C 1078-11, or the Public Service
Loan Forgiveness Program under section 455(m) of the HEA, 20 U.S.C
1087e(m).

Requirements

    Terms of Service Agreement with the Secretary: (A) To be eligible
to receive and retain payment benefits under the Civil Legal Assistance
Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program, the borrower must enter into a
written Service Agreement with the Secretary that specifies that:
    (1) The borrower is, at the time the Service Agreement is signed by
the borrower, employed as a civil legal assistance attorney and will
remain employed as a civil legal assistance attorney for a period of
not less than three years after the Service Agreement is signed, unless
the borrower is involuntarily separated from that employment.
    (2) If the borrower fails to meet the continued employment
condition, the borrower must repay the Secretary the amount of any
benefits received by the borrower under the Service Agreement;
    (3) If the borrower is involuntarily separated from qualifying
employment as a result of misconduct or voluntarily separates from
employment before the end of the service period specified in the
Service Agreement, the borrower must repay the Secretary the amount of
any benefits received by the borrower under the Service Agreement;
    (4) If a borrower who is required to repay an amount to the
Secretary fails to do so, the amount will be collected by the Federal
Government as a Federal debt using all the methods provided by law for
recovery of amounts owed to the Federal Government;
    (5) On a case-by-case basis, the Secretary may waive, in whole or
in part, the right to recover an amount owed under this program if, in
the Secretary's judgment, the recovery would be contrary to the public
interest; and
    (6) The Secretary makes student loan payments on behalf of the
borrower for the period of the agreement, subject to the availability
of annual appropriations.
    (B) Upon completion of a required period of service, the Secretary
may enter into an additional agreement with the borrower. An additional
agreement may require the borrower to remain employed as a civil legal
assistance attorney for a period of less than three years. The
Secretary would make additional student loan payments on the borrower's
behalf for this additional period of service.

Repayment Amounts

    (A) A borrower employed as a civil legal assistance attorney who
meets all of the criteria for student loan repayment under the
borrower's Service Agreement with the Secretary may receive repayment
of up to $6,000 for each year of completed service under a service
agreement, up to a total amount of $40,000.
    (B) The Secretary does not reimburse a borrower for any payment on
a loan made by the borrower prior to the date the Secretary determines
that the borrower has met each year's employment commitment under the
borrower's Service Agreement.
    (C) The Secretary pays the approved repayment amount to the
borrower's loan holder(s) to be applied to the outstanding balance of
the borrower's eligible loans, not to exceed the annual maximum of
$6,000.

Program Definitions

    Year means a consecutive 12-month period that begins on a date
identified by the Secretary that is on or after the date of the signed
written Service Agreement between the borrower and the Secretary.
    Civil legal assistance attorney means an attorney who is a full-
time employee of--
    (A) A nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance,
without a fee, with respect to civil matters to low-income individuals;
or
    (B) A protection and advocacy system or client assistance program
that provides legal assistance to clients with respect to civil matters
and that receives funding under--
    (1) Subtitle C of Title I of the Developmental Disabilities
Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 15041 et seq.);
    (2) Section 112 or 509 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.
732, 794e);
    (3) Part A of Title I of the Protection and Advocacy for
Individuals with Mental Illness Act (42 U.S.C. 10801 et seq.);
    (4) Section 5 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C.
3004);
    (5) Section 1150 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b-21);
    (6) Section 1253 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300d-
53); or
    (7) Section 291 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C.
15461).
    Eligible Student Loan is a loan made under the Perkins Loan, FFEL,
or Direct Loan Program, excluding PLUS loans made under the FFEL and
Direct Loan Programs to parents of dependent undergraduate students and
Federal Consolidation Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans that repaid
a parent PLUS loan.
    Employee means an individual who, under Federal tax law, is
considered an employee of the non-profit organization, protection and
advocacy system, or client assistance program.
    Full-time employment (A) Means working in qualifying employment in
one or more jobs for the greater of--
    (1) An annual average of at least 30 hours per week, or
    (2) Unless the qualifying employment is with two or more employers,
the number of hours the employer considers full-time.
    (B) Vacation or leave time provided by the employer or leave taken
for a condition that is a qualifying reason under the Family and
Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. 2612(a)(1) and (3), is not
considered in determining the average hours worked on an annual basis.
    Non-profit organization means an organization, under section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, that is exempt from taxation
under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    Involuntary separation due to misconduct means termination from

[[Page 39001]]

employment which results in the borrower not being eligible to receive
unemployment benefits under applicable State law.

Application Procedures for Loan Repayment and Payment Processing

    (A) A borrower may request loan repayment by completing the
Application and Service Agreement approved by the Secretary and
providing any required supporting documentation.
    (B) The Secretary makes a student loan repayment commitment for
each consecutive 12-month period of service to a qualified applicant on
a first-come, first-served basis, according to the date that the
borrower's complete and accurate signed Application and Service
Agreement is received by the Secretary, contingent upon the
availability of funds for the fiscal year on that date. The date the
application is received by the Secretary is:
    (1) No earlier than the first receipt date established by the
Secretary;
    (2) No later than the deadline date for receipt of applications
specified in this Notice; and
    (3) If the borrower's application is incomplete or inaccurate, the
date the Secretary considers the borrower's application to be complete
and accurate.
    (C) The Secretary notifies applicants of--
    (1) Their eligibility or ineligibility for a student loan repayment
commitment;
    (2) For eligible borrowers, the required service period covered
under the borrower's Service Agreement with the Secretary;
    (3) For eligible borrowers, the loan repayment amount to be paid
following completion of the first consecutive 12-month period of
service covered under the borrower's Service Agreement; and
    (4) Any other terms and conditions of the Secretary's payment of
benefits.
    (D) No later than 90 days after the end of each consecutive 12-
month period for which the Secretary committed a loan repayment amount
for the borrower, the borrower must submit to the Secretary a
certification of completed service certified by the borrower's employer
on a form approved by the Secretary.
    (E) Upon receipt of the borrower's certification of completed
service, the Secretary will send the approved repayment amount for
which the borrower qualified to the holder of the borrower's highest
current outstanding unsubsidized loan, if any, for payment on that
loan. If the borrower has no outstanding unsubsidized loans, the
Secretary forwards the repayment amount to the holder of the borrower's
highest outstanding subsidized loan.
    (F) If the holder of the borrower's loan(s) determines that the
repayment amount received from the Secretary exceeds the remaining
balance of the loan for which it is designated in accordance with
paragraph (E) of this section, the holder must apply the remaining
balance to another eligible loan of the borrower held by the holder, if
applicable. If the holder has no other eligible loans of the borrower,
the holder must return the balance to the Secretary. If applicable, the
Secretary will forward that balance to another holder of the borrower's
eligible loans.

Repayment Procedures

    (A) A borrower must repay to the Secretary any repayment benefit
received if the borrower--
    (1) Fails to complete all of the service required under the Service
Agreement; or
    (2) Before the end of the period of employment required by the
Service Agreement, is involuntarily separated from eligible employment
due to misconduct or voluntarily leaves that eligible employment.
    (B) Upon notification of a borrower's involuntary separation due to
misconduct or voluntary separation from eligible employment, or upon a
borrower's failure to submit a certification of completed service
within 90 days of the end date of the second or subsequent consecutive
12-month service period required to retain the repayment benefit, the
Secretary notifies the borrower that the borrower must repay any
benefit received under the Service Agreement unless the borrower
provides the Secretary, within 30 days of the date of the Secretary's
notice, with documentation that establishes to the satisfaction of the
Secretary that such repayment should not be required.
    (C) If, within 30 days of the date of the Secretary's notice under
paragraph (B) of this section, the borrower fails to provide the
Secretary with documentation that establishes to the satisfaction of
the Secretary why the borrower should not be required to repay a
benefit received, the Secretary treats the payment amount as a Federal
debt and provides the borrower with a repayment schedule that includes
a monthly payment amount, the first payment due date, the applicable
interest rate, and any accrued interest. The Secretary also informs the
borrower of any other terms and conditions of repayment.
    (D) If a borrower who is required to repay a benefit received under
a Service Agreement fails to make a monthly payment within 20 days of
the due date, the Secretary undertakes collection of the amount owed by
the borrower using all the methods provided for by law for the recovery
of Federal debts.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print,
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), on the
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister. To
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at
this site.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.409.
    Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated
authority to Daniel T. Madzelan, Director, Forecasting and Policy
Analysis for the Office of Postsecondary Education, to perform the
functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary
Education.

    Dated: June 30, 2010.
Daniel T. Madzelan,
Director, Forecasting and Policy Analysis.
[FR Doc. 2010-16360 Filed 7-6-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P